Deep Drilling: From Salt to Petroleum (OG-01)
More than 2,000 years ago, the Chinese used a chisel-like bit on a rope to bore 400-foot-deep holes for salt brine. But drilling was not reported in Europe until the Middle Ages. Using the primitive springpole method, brine seekers did nearly all well drilling in America until the middle of the 19th century.

In the early 1800s, eastern saltworks operators developed basic machinery and techniques of modern cable-tool drilling. Stationary steam engines, used to pump salt water in 1829, later powered drilling equipment. By 1850, the cable-tool drilling rig was a reality.

After Drakes first successful oil well in 1859, oil operators adopted cable-tool equipment. Drilling techniques rapidly improved in the oil boom that followed.

Our Hoosier State Beneath Us: Oil and Gas


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